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26th May

 Update: Nasty Ethics...

Ugandan pop star persecuted for sexy music video on YouTube
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jemimah kansiime A Ugandan pop singer Jemimah Kansiime, 21, is being persecuted under Uganda's Anti-Pornography Law for a sexy music video on YouTube.

She has already spent five weeks in jail on charges of producing and promoting pornography. In Nkulinze (I am waiting for you) , the song for which she was arrested, she repeatedly adjusts her blue pushup bra - a clip the vindictive 'Ethics' Minister and former Catholic priest Simon Lokodo considers vulgar and obscene . Lokodo is a nasty piece of work who also advocates killing people for being gay.

Kansiime who performs as Panadol Wa'basajja, told AFP:

I was aware that there are some sections of society that are conservative I was just experimenting to see if I put on a short dress, will the audience like it?

Kansiime soaped her thong-clad behind, and attracted more than 400,000 viewers on YouTube.

Her attorneys have asked a magistrate's court in Kampala to suspend criminal proceedings until a legal challenge to the Anti-Pornography Act is ruled on by the country's constitutional court. The lower court is set to decide on the stay of proceedings on 9 July.

Activists are challenging the constitutionality of the anti-porn bill on the grounds that it is too broad and too vague. The law defines porn as:

Any representation, through publication, exhibition, cinematography, indecent show, information technology or by whatever means, of a person engaged in real or stimulated explicit sexual activities or any representation of the sexual parts of a person for primarily sexual excitement.

Critics of the anti-porn bill say it is evidence that Uganda, the only predominantly Roman Catholic country in Africa, is under growing conservative influence driven by Christian churches, including hundreds of evangelical churches that have sprung up in recent years.

 

23rd May

 Updated: Extreme proposals...

Theresa May's plans to pre-censor TV revealed
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Theresa May Theresa May's plan to introduce counter-extremism powers to vet British broadcasters' programmes before transmission was attacked by a Conservative cabinet colleague, a leaked letter has revealed. Presumably May's censorship proposal is targeted at muslim TV channels broadcast in the UK or perhaps wider religion based channels but it is too politically incorrect to mention the target of these proposals.

Sajid Javid described the Home Secretary's proposal to give Ofcom extra powers to censor extremist content as a threat to freedom of speech and reducing Ofcom to the role of a censor.

Javid pointed out that other countries which have imposed similar powers are not known for their compliance with rights related to freedom of expression and the Government may not wish to be associated with such regimes .

He sent the letter on March 12 when he was Culture, Media and Sport Secretary to inform the Prime Minister that he could not support May's counter extremism strategy and sent a copy to the Home Secretary. In the letter published by the Guardian, Javid wrote:

Extending Ofcom's powers to enable it to take pre-emptive action would move it from its current position as a post-transmission regulator into the role of a censor.

This would involve a fundamental shift in the way UK broadcasting is regulated, away from the current framework which is designed to take appropriate account of the right to freedom of expression.

Whilst it is absolutely vital that Government works in partnership with individuals and organisations to do all it can to ensure that society is protected from extremism, it must also continue to protect the right to freedom of expression and ensure that these proposals do not restrict or prevent legitimate and lawful comment or debate.

Cameron last week outlined plans to fast-track powers to tackle radicalisation, including a commitment to give Ofcom a strengthened role in taking action against channels which broadcast extremist content, alongside banning and disruption orders for people who seek to radicalise others or use hate speech in public. It is not clear whether the Government has revisited May's plans since taking office, or whether they could be included in next week's Queen's Speech.

Update: Cameron confirms plans for TV pre-censorship

23rd May 2015. See  article from  dailymail.co.uk

David Cameron David Cameron seems to have confirmed plans to allow Ofcom to censor television programmes. The measure is presumably targeted at religious/muslim channels showing interviews with extremists. Ofcom will be given powers to pre-censor such content before it airs.

Cameron has now said that the Home Secretary's counter-extremism proposals, which are expected to be a centrepiece of next week's Queen's Speech, were sensible . Hhe said:

Our proposals on extremism are extremely sensible and I think need to be put into place. Ofcom has got a role to make sure we don't broadcast extremist messages through our media as well.

Cameron last week outlined plans to fast-track powers to tackle radicalisation, including a commitment to give Ofcom a strengthened role in taking action against channels which broadcast extremist content, alongside banning and disruption orders for people who seek to radicalise others or use hate speech in public.

A Downing Street spokesman said the proposals would be part of next week's Queen's Speech.

 

17th May

  Playwrights for a Lost Cause...

Anti-Censorship stage show in New York cancelled over fear of religious offence
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playwrights for a cause A June anti-censorship event featuring four short plays addressing the critical and growing incursion of censorship into arts and culture has been cancelled by the venue, the Sheen Center for Thought and Culture in Greewich Village, New York

The event was a benefit for the National Coalition Against Censorship and the controversy was ignited by the segment, Mohammed Gets A Boner, a monologue that Neil LaBute contributed to the quartet of plays, called Playwrights For A Cause .

William Spencer Reilly, executive director of the Sheen Center, told the New York Times that when the the contract for the event was signed in February, he wasn't aware of the title of the play, which the Times deemed unfit to print. After reading the script, Reilly said, he cancelled the show because of the play's clear offense to Muslims. He said:

When an artistic project maligns any faith group, that project clearly falls outside of our mission to highlight the good, the true, and the beautiful as they have been expressed throughout the ages. The center will not be a forum that mocks or satirizes another faith group.

LaBute said the Sheen Center was was absolutely within their right to cancel the contract but added that he's saddened by the decision:

This event was meant to shine another light on censorship and it was unexpected to have the plug pulled, quite literally, by an organization that touts the phrase 'for thought and culture' on their very Web site. Both in life and in the arts, this is not a time to hide or be afraid; recent events have begged for artists and citizens to stand and be counted.

LaBute earlier praised the Coalition Against Censorship for:

Doing really important work at a time when people are actively striving to take away some of our most basic freedoms. I, for one, feel that these are the front lines for an artist--when you are asked to write/fight for what you've said you believe in. It is no longer enough to pay lip service to these ideas--it's time to stand up and be counted.